Sunday, June 23, 2024

Surveying The Oscar Field: Updated Oscar Predictions (3/2/2021)

3 days until Oscar nomination begins. 13 days until the nominations are revealed. With the Golden Globe winners now revealed and the Critics Choice Awards being held this Sunday, now is the time more than ever where voters are paying attention to which films are in the race and which ones they need to prioritize in their long list of screeners. Let’s see where the NBP Team views the race before Oscar voting begins.

If you want to see our predictions broken down individually, category by category, click here.

Best Picture
1. ​The Trial Of The Chicago 7
2. Nomadland
3. Minari(^)
4. Mank(v)
5. One Night In Miami(v)
6. Promising Young Woman(^)
7. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom(v)
8. News Of The World(v)
9. Judas And The Black Messiah(^)
10. Sound of Metal (NEW)

Dropped Out:Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods” has been on life-support ever since it was shut out of the Golden Globes and it’s once sure-fire potential nominee in Best Actor, Delroy Lindo, missed key nominations at the Golden Globes and at SAG. Many team members finally lost enough faith in it that it has left the top 10. Taking its place is “Sound of Metal” which has been climbing up the charts steadily after a strong showing at the Critics Choice nominations and scoring MPSE, CAS and WGA nominations. If it receives a PGA nomination, watch out for it to rise even higher. And speaking of films that are continuing their rise through the list, no other film has had a better last couple of days than “Minari.” Previously considered to possibly be too small of a film to crack the Best Picture lineup, its better than expected showing at Critics Choice (10 nominations!!), SAG and its recent Golden Globe win, have not only made it a top 5 contender but even a potential dark horse to the “Nomadland” vs. “The Trial Of The Chicago 7” showdown.

Best Director
1. Chloé Zhao –

2. David Fincher – Mank
3. Aaron Sorkin – The Trial Of The Chicago 7
4. Lee Isaac Chung – Minari(^)
5. Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman(^)
6. Regina King – One Night In Miami(v)
7. Florian Zeller – The Father(v)
8. Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods(v)
9. Paul Greengrass – News Of The World(^)
10. George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom(v)

It’s Chloé Zhao’s world and we’re all just living in it. After winning the Golden Globe for Best Director, Zhao looks ready to become only the second woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. She remains unmatched this season and is expected to easily take the Critics Choice. All that’s left then is for her to take DGA and BAFTA and it will be a sure thing. But this is the Academy after all, with 92 years of history behind them. And if Zhao misses either BAFTA or DGA to anyone, like Aaron Sorkin or David Fincher, then watch out for a possible “The King’s Speech/The Social Network” scenario where David Fincher won all of the critics awards including Critics Choice, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA but lost the DGA to the eventual Oscar winner, Tom Hooper. A lot can still happen over the next few weeks but until then, Zhao should start practicing her acceptance speech now.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Actress
1. Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman (^)
2. Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (v)
3. Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (^)
4. Frances McDormand – Nomadland (v)
5. Vanessa Kirby – Pieces Of A Woman (v)
6. Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy (v)
7. Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead (^)
8. Rosamund Pike – I Care a Lot (NEW)
9. Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (v)
10. Yeri Han – Minari (NEW)

Dropped Out: Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit & Kate Winslet – Ammonite

After months of buzz and hype surrounding “Promising Young Woman,” Carey Mulligan has finally claimed the number one spot at Next Best Picture in the Best Actress race. Andra Day shocked the world when she won the Golden Globe for her brilliant portrayal of singer Billie Holiday in Lee Daniels’ newest film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which just dropped recently on Hulu. Day is also nominated at Critics Choice this Sunday and it’s the last possible place where she can make a final stand due to not being nominated at SAG or long listed at BAFTA. If she wins there, I suspect she’ll either rise to number 1 or number 2 on our charts. However, many believe Mulligan is a prime candidate to win Critics Choice due to her film’s showing there. She will also likely win the BAFTA. SAG is a bigger question mark as they may want to go for beloved industry veteran Viola Davis. Both Viola, Mulligan and McDormand are also expected to have corresponding Best Picture nominations to go along with their acting nominations, while Day’s film is not even being considered. Either way, Andra Day’s wins at the Golden Globes gave this category a new dynamic and injected it with some much needed suspense. Also, a shoutout to Yeri Han for making the top 10 for the first time for her understated work in “Minari,” once again showing the strength and passionate support for that movie that many are considering her as an outside shot at a nomination.

Best Actor
1. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
2. Anthony Hopkins – The Father
3. Riz Ahmed – Sound Of Metal
4. Gary Oldman – Mank
5. Steven Yeun – Minari (^)
6. Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (v)
7. Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round (^)
8. Tom Hanks – News Of The World 
9. Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian (NEW)
10. Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night In Miami (v)

Dropped Out: Ben Affleck – The Way Back

Chadwick Boseman secured the Golden Globe this past Sunday for his haunting final work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and other than a slight possibility of an upset at BAFTA, looks primed to sweep the rest of the season. All eyes are now on BAFTA to see which six men they will nominate in this category on March 9th, a day before Oscar voting ends to figure out how the category will shape up. All of the men in the top 10 are longlisted at BAFTA, so the possibilities are pretty wide. Will the Oscar lineup be the same as the SAG five? Or will BAFTA throw Mads Mikkelsen, or Tahar Rahim into the conversation? Expect things to get messy and unpredictable. One thing is for sure though, given BAFTA’s long and troubled history of not nominating Black actors, if Delroy Lindo somehow manages to get a nomination for his amazing work in “Da 5 Bloods” on March 9th, then I suspect that the outcry from his snubs at the Golden Globe and SAG will have done the trick and he will get in. However, if he misses at BAFTA, it’s game over.

​Best Supporting Actress

1. Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
2. Olivia Colman – The Father
3. Youn Yuh-jung – Minari (^)
4. Amanda Seyfried – Mank (v)
5. Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian (^)
6. Helena Zengel – News of the World (v)
7. Ellen Burstyn – Pieces Of A Woman (v)
8. Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (v)
9. Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite (^)
10. Dominique Fishback –  Judas And The Black Messiah (v)

Oh boy. What a mess. The Golden Globes could’ve told us who the frontrunner was in this category but instead they rewarded Jodie Foster in “The Mauritanian” which caused her to surge up the rankings and now firmly place her in our top 5. Many are asking themselves if this is an Aaron Taylor Johnson situation for “Nocturnal Animals,” where he won the Globe but it never materialized in the Oscar nomination. I view it more as Kathy Bates last year for “Richard Jewell.” A beloved industry veteran comes back with a good-enough performance to take up one slot in the lineup. We see it happen all the time but who does she knock out? Maria Bakalova took a HARD downturn last Sunday when she failed to win the Best Actress Comedy/Musical category for her role in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Like last year with Jennifer Lopez filling to win the Globe for “Hustlers,” many are also predicting Bakalova will be snubbed by BAFTA and thus, follow Lopez’s trajectory to miss the Oscar nomination all together. A win at Critics Choice on Sunday could give her the needed exposure and TV time to make a memorable speech that the Globes should’ve given her but it’s unlikely. There are many combinations here that can still formulate as we anxiously await the BAFTA nominations. Will Saoirse Ronan show up for the first time for “Ammonite?” What about Dominique Fishback for “Judas And The Black Messiah?” Was the SAG snub for Amanda Seyfried more telling than we think? It’s possible to see a lineup with any of these 10 women in it.

Best Supporting Actor
1. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas And The Black Messiah (^)
2. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (v)
3. Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night In Miami
4. Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
5. Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (^)
6. David Strathairn – Nomadland (^)
7. Jared Leto – The Little Things (^)
8. Bill Murray – On The Rocks (v)
9. Frank Langella –  The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (^)
10. Mary Rylance – The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (v)

The fact of the matter is this: when Daniel Kaluuya is nominated for his powerful performance as Fred Hampton in “Judas And The Black Messiah,” he wins. Plain and simple. Objectively, his performance is the best in the category and he should be cakewalking his way to the Oscar nomination and win. However, despite the Golden Globe win on Sunday, many are still skeptical for a few reasons. One is Sacha Baron Cohen’s incredible campaign for not just “The Trial Of The Chicago 7” but also his work in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” which earned him a Best Actor Musical/Comedy award this past Sunday at the Golden Globes. The other is whether or not “Judas And The Black Messiah” can receive a Best Picture nomination. While it’s not wholly necessary, it certainly helps. We know for sure that “The Trial Of The Chicago 7” will be nominated though and if it’s the eventual winner in that category, it would make sense to sweep Cohen along with it. Like Supporting Actress, there are many paths this race can take in terms of the five nominated performers. However, the race has certainly boiled down to Kaluuya vs. Cohen and there’s still a lot of time left for Cohen to pull out a last minute upset. Don’t get too comfortable.


Best Original Screenplay
1. The Trial Of The Chicago 7
2. Promising Young Woman
3. Minari (^)
4. Mank (v)
5. Sound Of Metal (^)
6. Judas And The Black Messiah
7. Soul (v)
8. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (v)
9. Da 5 Bloods
10. Palm Springs (NEW)

Dropped Out: On The Rocks

This (and Adapted in a minute) is another category where the possibilities are endless. After its Golden Globe win and Best Picture frontrunner status, “The Trial Of The Chicago 7” is locked and loaded for a nomination. Even if “Promising Young Woman” underperforms on nomination morning this is one category where it should not miss. “Minari” has been growing in popularity to the point where I also cannot imagine a world where it misses here. That leaves two slots open for seven other contenders. A lot will depend on BAFTA but right now the film with both CCA and WGA nominations is “Sound Of Metal.” If it also manages to get in at BAFTA, then it will be a good contender for that fourth slot. The final slot will most likely come down to Best Picture contenders “Mank” and ” Judas And The Black Messiah” with an outside possibility at “Soul” or “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” surprising as that fifth contender. Those last two are also long listed at BAFTA, so watch out!

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Nomadland (^

2. One Night In Miami (v

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (^

4. The Father (v

5. News of the World
6. First Cow
7. The White Tiger (^

8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (v

9. Emma. (^

10. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (NEW)

Dropped Out: Hillbilly Elegy

Another category where like Original Screenplay, there seems to be very few sure things and many uncertainties. “Nomadland,” “One Night In Miami” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” feel the most secure based on their Best Picture buzz and precursor run so far. After that, it’s tough. “First Cow,” “The Father” and “News of the World” have CCA nominations with “News of the World” receiving the most Best Picture heat plus a WGA nomination. “First Cow” got the USC Scripter nomination while “The Father” got the Golden Globe nomination. “First Cow” is not long listed at BAFTA and did not receive the WGA nomination despite being eligible (unlike “The Father“) which is why we’ve giving the edge to Florian Zeller’s debut film for now. But watch out for a surprise from WGA nominee “The White Tiger” or Academy darling Charlie Kaufman for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Help us BAFTA, you’re our only hope!

Best Animated Feature
1. Soul
2. Wolfwalkers
3. Over the Moon
4. Onward
5. The Croods: A New Age
6. The Willoughbys
7. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
8. Bombay Rose
9. Trolls World Tour
10. Calamity, A Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary

Another update. No change. This is “Soul’s” Oscar to lose and everyone else will be happy just to be nominated.

Best Documentary Feature
1. Dick Johnson is Dead
2. All In: The Fight for Democracy
3. Time (^)
4. Boys State (v)
5. Crip Camp
6. Welcome to Chechnya
7. 76 Days (^)
8. Collective (^)
9. The Truffle Hunters (v)
10. The Mole Agent (v)

As stated the last time we were here, this category could produce any grouping of five from the ten films listed above and none of us would be shocked. The Documentary branch of the Academy can be one of the most unpredictable and this year, it’s tough to say which film is the frontrunner that they will inevitably snub like they did over the last three years with “Jane,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “Apollo 11.” Four of these films are also competing in other categories: “All In: The Fight for Democracy” for Best Original Song, “Welcome to Chechnya” for Best Visual Effects and “Collective” and “The Mole Agent” for Best International Feature film which could all help their chances in terms of overall exposure. Throw a dart at a board and see what sticks.

Best International Feature
1. Another Round
2. Quo Vadis, Aida?
3. Collective
4. A Sun
5. Two Of Us
6. La Llorona
7. I’m No Longer Here
8. Dear Comrades!
9. Night of the Kings
10. The Mole Agent

No change from the last update. More people are finally seeing “Quo Vadis, Aida?” which is extremely satisfying because it’s one of, if not, the best in this category and stands as the only potential threat to the Mads Mikkelsen starring “Another Round.” Even though “Minari” keeps winning Foreign Language prizes over it, we expect “Another Round” will come roaring back at BAFTA and solidify its frontrunner status with a strong showing there. In terms of the other nominees? Like Best Documentary Feature, the possibilities are endless and we’ll be looking at BAFTA where “Collective,” “Dear Comrades!,” “I’m No Longer Here,” “The Mole Agent” and “Quo Vadis, Aida?” are all long listed along with “Another Round.” We’ll see…

All of our predictions can be seen broken down category by category here, along with the craft categories. Let us know your predictions and where you see the race as of today. You can let us know in the comments section below or message us on our Twitter account.

​​You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture

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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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